8 Ways to Wake Up Happier

Start your day on a positive note with these simple strategies.

Posted Jan 15, 2019

Kamil Macniak/Shutterstock
Source: Kamil Macniak/Shutterstock

Getting up on the right side of the bed sets a positive tone for the rest of the day. I asked eight wellness professionals to share their favorite tips for starting the day in a happier frame of mind. Here's what they told me:

1. "The night before your next busy day, do what you can to make the following morning go effortlessly. Lay out your clothes, set up the coffee pot, make sure you know where your keys are so you’re not scrambling to find them. Simple actions such as these are within your control and can help your day get off to a calmer, less hectic start." Rachel Ann Dine, LPC, licensed professional counselor, Humanitas Counseling and Consulting

2. "I believe that the most important element in waking up happy is going to sleep happy! This can be accomplished by having a healthy, gratitude-filled bedtime routine. For example, this type of routine might include saying a list of gratitude statements to yourself and your partner, refraining from listening to upsetting news stories at bedtime, keeping technology out of the bedroom, and/or playing gentle music. All of these techniques work well for promoting good sleep. And when sleep is peaceful, you naturally wake up feeling refreshed and ready to embrace the day." Carla Marie Manly, Ph.D., a clinical psychologist and author of Joy from Fear

3. "One of the best things you can do to ensure a happy morning is to use an alarm clock rather than the alarm on your smartphone. When you wake up to your phone alarm and then follow the path of notifications, you subject yourself to the outside world's many demands on your attention before your feet even hit the ground. Instead of letting emails, text messages, social media notifications, and news alerts rule your waking-up moments, reclaim ownership of your attention with a screen-free morning routine." —Sarah Vaynerman, founder and CEO of Work from Om

4. "Keep in mind that there are various kinds of alarm clocks. Avoid using an alarm that jars you out of a deep sleep with a piercing noise. Instead, try a sunrise alarm clock. This type of alarm mimics the rise of the sun in your bedroom by a gradually brightening light, beginning roughly 30 minutes prior to when your alarm would go off. It’s a much less abrupt, more natural way to wake up." —Bill Fish, certified sleep science coach and co-founder of Tuck

5. "It’s easiest to practice gratitude first thing in the morning before you even get out of bed. Just think of one thing that you are truly grateful for, and allow the feeling of gratitude to wash over your body. The trick is to totally immerse yourself in the feeling of gratitude for a couple of minutes. Close your eyes and be completely present in the experience. Even though this is a simple practice, it can have a significant effect on your mood for the rest of the day." —Amy McManus, LMFT, relationship therapist and owner, Thrive Therapy

6. "You woke up! Did you ever consider the alternative? Jews do every morning, at least the observant ones. They say a prayer along these lines: 'Thank you, God, for bringing me back my soul, with compassion.' You don't have to be Jewish to use this strategy. Find or create your own variant of the prayer that speaks to you, and try saying it in the morning." —Talya Miron-Shatz, Ph.D., CEO of Buddy&Soul, and author of Psychology Today’s Baffled by Numbers blog

7. "Instead of dreading your day or getting stuck in worrying about what could happen, imagine it going the way you want it to. Give yourself permission to add as much detail as possible and allow yourself to really notice how it feels to have the day that you want to have. This is a great exercise to do either when you wake up in the morning or before bed." —Rachel Perlstein, LCSW, relationship coach, and co-founder of A Good First Date

8. "Engage in something you find pleasurable first thing in the morning. That may sound super-obvious, but it’s often overlooked. I’ll do anything for coffee in the morning, so I make sure it’s the first thing I do. Someone else might enjoy doing some gentle stretches, meditating, or listening to an inspirational podcast." Karly Hoffman King, LPC, mental health counselor in Cincinnati

Give yourself a reason to look forward to starting your day. With the right approach, a happy morning doesn’t need to be an oxymoron.

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